Resource Guide for Bipolar Disorder
Last Edited: October 9th, 2012

Bipolar disorder is a mental illness that is characterized by intense mood swings and may be accompanied by manic depression. While living with bipolar disorder or with someone who has bipolar disorder can be challenging at times, there are many different types of treatments to help curb the symptoms. Below you will find information on bipolar disorder statistics, symptoms, and types. In addition, we also provide information about the different forms of treatment, possible causes and triggers, and how to cope with bipolar disorders. Living with bipolar disorder is not a death sentence, it’s a different way of life that you can learn to adjust to and treat.

Facts, Statistics, and Categories of Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder is a depressive disorder that affects the way someone’s brain functions. Without treatment bipolar disorder can be extremely dangerous and can lead to self-destructive behaviors, such as thoughts of suicidal tendencies, cutting, eating disorders, and anxiety. Roughly 5.7 million American suffer from a bipolar disorder. Bipolar disorder does not discriminate between age, race, and social status. There are many people suffering from this disorder and 7 out of 10 people receive at least one misdiagnosis in their lifetime before their bipolar disorder is diagnosed.

Statistics show that from the time symptoms start to appear till the diseases is diagnosed takes an average of 10 years. It’s important to seek treatment for any mood disorder as soon as possible. There are five types of bipolar disorders: bipolar disorder I, bipolar disorder II, cyclothymic disorder, bipolar disorder not otherwise specified, and bipolar disorder with rapid cycling. Each one of these have different symptoms and along with treatment.

When people are having a manic episode some symptoms are increased energy, aggressive behavior, delusions or hallucinations, inflated ego, and a sense of euphoria. After someone has a manic episode it is accompanied by a depression. Symptoms include but are not limited to prolonged sadness, changes in sleep patterns and appetite, worry and anxiety, and slowed thinking. It’s important that if you are someone who know are showing signs of these symptoms that help is sought immediately. Living with bipolar disorder that is left untreated can wreak havoc on people’s personal and professional life, as well as their emotional health and physical safety. Take a look throughout the links below to learn more about what bipolar disorder is, as well as additional statistics and types of bipolar disorders.

  • Understanding Bipolar Disorder- Here you will find a thorough overview about bipolar disorder from is a trusted non-profit organization.
  • What is Bipolar Disorder?- provides us with an excellent introduction about what bipolar disorder entails and other valuable information.
  • Bipolar Disorder in Children and Teens- The National Institute of Mental Health gives us in-depth look into dipolar disorder in children and teens.
  • Let's Talk Facts: Bipolar Disorder- The American Psychiatric Association explains the in’s and out of bipolar disorder.
  • Bipolar Disorder Fact Sheet- An in depth fact sheet with statistics of bipolar disorder has been provided by the Bipolar Disorder Awareness Day.
  • Bipolar Disorder Statistics- The Depression and Bipolar Support Alliances shares an excellent article about what bipolar disorder affect as well as possible treatment options.
  • Bipolar Disorder Categories- The University of Maryland Medical Center gives a wonderful overview about the five different types of bipolar disorders.
  • Types of Bipolar Disorders- The University of Illinois shares with us a look at the different categories of bipolar disorder and symptoms that are commonly associated with them.

Causes, Triggers, and Symptoms

While the exact cause of bipolar disorder has yet to be discovered there are a number of probable causes that scientists and doctors have gathered. The majority of scientists agree that bipolar disorder occur when there is a chemical imbalance in the brain which effects how we think and feel. There are also a large number of studies that suggest bipolar disorder runs in families. The likelihood that a child will have bipolar disorder greatly increases if even one parent suffers from it.

When someone has bipolar disorder their manic and depressive episodes can be triggered by a number of factors. Some of these factors are stress, a major life change, substance abuse, sleep problems, seasonal changes, and even medications. These triggers then set off manic or depressive symptoms. Manic symptoms include increased sex drive, unusually poor judgment, increased irritability, and inability to focus. After the manic episode a prolonged depression will set in. This depression will cause social withdraw, feelings of guilt and unhappiness, and a loss of interest in activities. Below you will find more information about the possible causes, triggers, and symptoms.

  • Bipolar Disorder and Genetics- An excellent summary of the effects of genetics on bipolar disorders.
  • Bipolar Disorder Causes- While the exact cause of bipolar disorder is still unknown the National Alliance on Mental Illness shares with us some insights into the possible causes
  • Possible Bipolar Disorder Triggers- Health Guidance explains some of the possible triggers of bipolar disorder and some of the warning signs.
  • Bipolar Symptoms- PBS gives a detailed into the signs of mania and depression that make up a bipolar disorder.
  • Manic/Depressive Symptoms- The Wexner Medical Center at Ohio State University gives an overview of the possible symptoms of someone suffering with a bipolar disorder.
  • Bipolar Disorder Warning Signs- The National Alliance on Mental Health provides an excellent summary about the facts of bipolar disorder including some warning signs.

Diagnosis, Treatment, and Prognosis

Diagnosing someone with bipolar disorder is often a time consuming process because the symptoms and the level of severity can fluctuate over years. Bipolar disorder is often misdiagnosed before they are treated. When doctors diagnosis bipolar disorder they look at the patient’s symptoms over time, rate them on a chart, and classify the disorder. Once bipolar disorder is diagnosed treatment must start immediately. The patient will start taking medication to treat the depression and the mania. In addition to medication therapy is a common treatment and even electroconvulsive therapy. There is a stigma associated with bipolar disorders, but when they are treated people can live a healthy and normal life. Browse through the links below to learn more about the treatment of bipolar disorder and how people live with them.

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